Kris Anne Pulanco
BOH3/BOH Vice President
On July 21st, Bachelor of Oral Health students and Faculty of Dentistry staff volunteered their time to help the not-for-profit organization ‘Sydney Homeless Connect’ with their annual event. This great initiative connects the homeless and those at risk of homelessness to vital information, services, and products.
In the iconic Town Hall, in the heart of Sydney CBD, Homeless Connect volunteers from many different industries were able distribute clothes, cut hair, provide medical checks, and much more.
BOH2 and BOH3 volunteers had the opportunity to meet so many people from many different walks of life. Some students assisted the mobile dental van to provide free urgent dental care. They provided help with managing triage, chairside assistance, and aided with sterilization. Other students answered dental queries, provided oral hygiene instructions, and advised how to receive dental treatment at public dental clinics. Colgate generously provided a variety of toothbrushes and toothpastes which seemed to brighten up many faces.
I was honoured to have volunteered at this wonderful event for the second time, and to have met amazing people. It was touching to see all the donations provided by the public, and all volunteers that made the day another success.
Arruni Kandasamy, a BOH3 student volunteer said “it was beautiful how people who were homeless would reject our free dental products because they already received one sample and wanted to ensure others would also get them. I also met a man who had been in pain for months and is unable to be treated because a family member needs more urgent dental treatment. He’s been in pain for a really long time and hasn’t been able to eat, leading to him losing weight and feeling tired. It seems we need more free dental clinics/hospitals to keep up with the demand.”
Another BOH3 student, Annie Cummins, said “the best part for me was how appreciative the people were. Also, the amount and variety of stations available to them was incredible”.
Anna Cheng from BOH2 said “it was an enlightening experience where we were able to meet and educate the homeless community on oral hygiene and also to be able to lend an ear and listen to their stories”.
We are all thankful for the opportunity to be involved with such an important event for Sydney’s homeless and disadvantaged community. We look forward to seeing the Faculty of Dentistry continue to be involved in the years to come.
For more information about Sydney Homeless Connect and how you can get involved, please visit their website: http://www.sydneyhomelessconnect.com/